ISLAMABAD: Candidates aspiring to contest the February 8 general elections next year rush to submit their nomination papers today (Sunday), as the extended deadline by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is set to end at 4:30pm today, The News reported on Sunday.
Several political leaders including PML-N’s Tariq Fazal Chaudhary, former Islamabad mayor Pir Adil Gillani, Sheikh Ansar Aziz, federal capital’s ex-deputy mayors Zeeshan Naqvi and Chaudhry Riffat Javed among others submitted their nomination papers today (Sunday).
PPP’s Raja Imran Ashraf also filed his nomination papers.
The electoral body, on Friday, extended its deadline till today for candidates wishing to file nomination papers by two days after various political parties appealed an extension in the submission deadline.
Once the deadline ends, the ECP is set to conduct scrutiny of the nomination papers from Monday (December 25) through December 30, as per the commission’s updated schedule.
Appeals against the acceptance or rejection of nomination papers can be submitted until January 3, 2024 with decisions expected by Jan 10.
The ECP is set to release the updated list of candidates on January 11, and candidates can withdraw their papers till Jan 12.
The allocation of electoral symbols will take place on January 13, and the general elections are scheduled for February 08.
Meanwhile, the ECP has given more time to foreign observers who want to monitor the general elections. Now, they can submit their applications from December 31, 2023 to January 20, 2024.
An ECP official informed APP that they have received responses from 103 representatives of foreign media living in Pakistan.
The ECP has printed over 200,000 accreditation cards and appointed District Monitoring Officers and teams to oversee compliance with the code of conduct.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chief Organiser and Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz is set to contest the next general elections from two National Assembly seats and three provincial assembly seats.
Talking to the media, PML-N leader Khawaja Imran Nazir said the nomination papers of Maryam were submitted for NA-119, NA-120, PP-159, PP-160 and PP-165, Lahore.
Meanwhile, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) has fielded its leader Mufti Kifayatullah against PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in NA-15, Mansehra.
“My party’s leadership has fielded me to contest the National Assembly’s election against Nawaz Sharif,” Mufti Kifayatullah told reporters here.
The former JUI-F lawmaker, who had submitted his nomination papers a day earlier, said it would be a tough contest.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s absconding leader Azam Swati has also expressed his wish to contest election against Nawaz from Mansehra.
In a video message on social media, Swati said that if his party would award him the ticket, he would run for elections from NA-15.
Meanwhile, almost all the political parties and independent candidates have submitted nomination papers for the one National Assembly and three provincial assembly seats of the Shangla district.
According to the data collected, a total of 29 candidates submitted nomination papers for the NA-11 constituency while 23 contestants each filed papers for PK-28, Shangla-I and PK-24, Shangla-II, and 31 for PK-30, Shangla-III.
PML-N provincial president Amir Muqam filed nomination papers for the NA-11 constituency and PK-30 Shangla-III.
Similarly, PTI leader and ex-minister Shaukat Yousafzai will contest elections on two provincial constituencies and submit nomination papers for the PK-28, Shangla-I and PK-24, Shangla-II.
PTI local leader, who is popularly known as Baba-e-Shangla, Alhaj Said Fareen, filed nomination papers for the NA-11 constituency while his sons Hanifur Rahman and Gulzar Akhunkhel will contest elections from PK-28, Shangla-I.
Baba-e-Shangla’s nephew Habibur Rahman Toofan filed papers for PK-30, Shangla-III for the upcoming polls slated for February 8, 2024.
The candidates of other political parties, including Awami National Party, Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl, Jamaat-e-Islami, Gujjar Ittehad and independents also filed nomination papers for various constituencies in the district.
In south Punjab, the candidates continued submitting their nomination papers on Saturday. Senior politician Javed Hashmi submitted his nomination papers for NA-149. Hashmi’s lawyers submitted nomination papers for him.
PMLN leader Saad Khursheed Khan Kanju submitted his nomination papers for PP 217, while JI candidate Dr Safdar Hashmi submitted papers for NA-149 at the RO’s office.
Meanwhile, Lahore High Court Chief Justice Muhammad Amir Bhatti has directed the judiciary that the LHC Multan bench will remain open for the next two days. The LHC branches will remain open despite the holidays on Sunday and December 25 for election petitions.
Meanwhile, LHC Multan Bench Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar stopped the police from harassing the Dasti family on a petition of ex-MNA Jamshed Dasti’s wife Nazia Jamshed.